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Northern grey-headed sparrow

Passer griseus

Photo by Dick Daniels (Wikipedia)

Common name:
northern grey-headed sparrow (en); pardal-de-cabeça-cinzenta (pt); moineau gris (fr); gorrión de cabeza gris (es); graukopfsperling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Passeridae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from southern Mauritania to southern Sudan and south to northern Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe and north-western Mozambique.

These birds are 15-16 cm long and weigh 24-43 g.

The northern grey-headed sparrow is found in dry savannas and tropical forests, dry scrublands, dry grasslands, arable land and also very often near human settlements in both rural and urban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They feed on seeds, flowers, small fruits, and also insects such as beetles, termites and locusts. They also take human scraps.

These birds are monogamous and nest either in solitary pairs or in loose colonies. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of  an untidy mat made of grass and lined with feathers, typically placed in a tree cavity, either natural or an abandoned nest of a woodpecker or barbet, or in a hole in a building or other human-made structure. They can also use the nests of other birds, such as swallows, bee-eaters, swifts and kingfishers sometimes evicting them while they are actively breeding. The female lays 2-7 eggs, which she incubates alone for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of insects, leaving the nest after about 19 days.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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